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Director, Plant Production and Protection Division


  • Organization: FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Location: Rome
  • Grade: Senior Executive level - D-2, Director - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Agriculture and Forestry
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: Closed

• FAO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality, background and culture
• Qualified female applicants, qualified nationals of non-and under-represented Members and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply
• Everyone who works for FAO is required to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and professional conduct, and to uphold FAO's values
• FAO, as a Specialized Agency of the United Nations, has a zero-tolerance policy for conduct that is incompatible with its status, objectives and mandate, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination
• All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks
• All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality
• FAO staff are subject to the authority of the Director-General, who may assign them to any of the activities or offices of the Organization.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda through the FAO Strategic Framework by supporting the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems, for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.

Organizational Setting

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is the Specialized Agency of the United Nations leading international efforts to defeat hunger. FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide to achieve food security for all and ensure that people have regular access to high-quality food.

The Plant Production and Protection Division (NSP) enables the transition to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable plant production and protection through optimization and minimization, in collaboration with a broad range of partners. This requires the integration and harmonization of all appropriate crop production policies and practices to increase production in a sustainable manner in order to eradicate hunger while preserving natural resources and the environment.

The position is located in the Plant Production and Protection Division (NSP) at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy.

Reporting Lines

Under the policy guidance and the general supervision of the Deputy Director-General, the Director, NSP provides strategic, managerial and technical leadership for the work of the Division and facilitates the management of corporate activities.

Summary of Duties and Functions

  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Manage the Division’s programme of work, planning, strategic vision, advice, quality control, and ensure the implementation of the Division’s approved work plan in support of the FAO Strategic Framework, as well as the cost-effective use of financial and human resources based on Results Based Management principles;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Provide technical expert guidance and leadership in the development, implementation and review of programmes related to plant production, agricultural/crop economy and industry, crop protection and sustainable agriculture practices;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Provide expert guidance and lead the Organization’s technical work to develop and implement sustainable crop production and protection strategies including, for example\:

<-- [if supportLists]-->o<--[endif]-->improving input and resource use efficiency;

<-- [if supportLists]-->o<--[endif]-->promoting of new seed varieties and other related technologies;

<-- [if supportLists]-->o<--[endif]-->maintaining healthy soil ecosystems;

<-- [if supportLists]-->o<--[endif]-->the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources;

<-- [if supportLists]-->o<--[endif]-->reducing crop losses from transboundary plant pests and diseases;

<-- [if supportLists]-->o<--[endif]-->sound pesticide management;

<-- [if supportLists]-->o<--[endif]-->adoption of mechanization and digitalization platforms;

  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Leverage and promote current and emerging innovation and technologies in plant production and protection, in cooperation with public, private, academia and civil society actors and actively contribute to strengthening partnerships with partners from all sectors;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Ensure liaison and coordination with, and provide information, guidance and support to, all units of the Organization, both at headquarters and in the Decentralized Offices (DOs), on topics related to NSP’s mandate;
  • <--[endif]-->Provide guidance and support to Members, UN and specialized agencies, and other global, regional and national bodies on liaison, coordination and exchange of information regarding the crop sector, and support inter-agency and inter-institutional collaboration on analysis and development of areas of responsibility covered by the Division;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Promote international dialogue and action on global and regional plant production and protection issues through intergovernmental and non-governmental channels, including through the FAO Technical Committees and other Statutory Bodies, specifically the FAO Committee on Agriculture, the International Plant Protection Convention and the Rotterdam Convention;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Develop and lead efforts to mobilize resources for the Division’s activities and support funding outreach approaches for technical staff in the DOs;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Represent the Organization at high-level meetings and other events relevant to the Division’s field of competence;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Maintain a motivated and effective workforce by ensuring recruitment of highly qualified staff, by mentoring, coaching and supporting career development of staff, and by implementing effective approaches for performance management;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Develop and implement strong internal communication and external outreach and advocacy strategies.

Minimum Requirements

  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Advanced university degree in agriculture, crop production, crop protection, agronomy, agricultural engineering or a related field. Additional qualifications in broader agricultural sciences and international agriculture and/or Ph.D. in plant sciences or agricultural economics would be an asset;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Minimum fifteen years of relevant experience in the area of plant sciences within the public or private sector;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Deep understanding and demonstrated professional competency and mastery of sustainable crop production, plant protection and mechanization (i.e. seeds and seed systems, fertilizers, bio-based products/inputs, precision agriculture and digital farming, mechanization/automation, etc.);
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->In-depth knowledge of global agricultural challenges, climate change impacts and the UN Sustainable Development Goals related to food security and sustainable agriculture;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Demonstrated experience in implementing innovative agricultural practices and leveraging new technologies for sustainable agricultural development;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Experience with multilateral negotiations and providing advice to governments;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Working experience that entailed a direct working relationship with farmers is an asset;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Strong track record of engaging with the private sector and forging successful partnerships;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Proven analytical skills and ability to express ideas clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Demonstrated leadership and managerial skills;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Ability to lead and work effectively with a diverse team of people of different national and cultural backgrounds in an international UN setting;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Experience working in a developing country is an asset;
  • <-- [if supportLists]-->Working knowledge of English (proficient – level C) and limited knowledge (intermediate – level B) of one of the other official FAO languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish).

Leadership Competencies

Results focus\: Takes accountability for the delivery of agreed results in service of FAO’s strategic framework - Leading, engaging and empowering others\: Coordinates, directs, facilitates and recognizes team efforts; creates an enabling environment and assists others to realize and develop their potential - Communication\: Encourages and contributes to clear and open communication - Partnering and Advocating\: Promotes ideas and develops partnerships to advance the Organization’s work - Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement\: Continually seeks to improve the knowledge, skills and work processes of oneself and others - Strategic thinking\: Makes informed and coherent decisions aligned with broader goals and strategies.
Please note that all candidates should adhere to FAO values of Commitment to FAO, Respect for all and Integrity and Transparency.
• FAO reserves the right not to make an appointment.
• Appointment will be subject to certification that the candidate is medically fit for appointment, accreditation, any residency or visa requirements, and security clearances.
A competitive compensation and benefits package is offered. For information on UN salaries, allowances and benefits,
Other benefits, subject to eligibility, include\:
-Dependency allowances
-Rental subsidy
-Education grant for children
-Home leave travel
-30 working days of annual leave per year
-Pension fund entitlements under the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund
-International health insurance; optional life insurance
-Disability protection
FAO encourages a positive workplace culture to increase inclusivity and diversity within its workforce. FAO applies
measures in which all staff members contribute equally and in full to the work and development of the Organization.
This includes\:
-elements of family-friendly policies
-flexible working arrangements
-standards of conduct.
• To apply, visit the recruitment website at Jobs at FAO and complete your online profile. We strongly recommend that your profile is accurate, complete and includes your employment records, academic qualifications, and language skills
• Candidates are requested to attach a letter of motivation to the online profile
• Once your profile is completed, please apply, and submit your application
• Please note that FAO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU) / United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed at http\://
• Candidates may be requested to provide performance assessments and authorization to conduct verification checks of past and present work, character, education, military and police records to ascertain any and all information which may be pertinent to the employment qualifications
• Incomplete applications will not be considered
• Personal information provided on your application may be shared within FAO and with other companies acting on FAO’s behalf to provide employment support services such as pre-screening of applications, assessment tests, background checks and other related services. You will be asked to provide your consent before submitting your application. You may withdraw consent at any time, by withdrawing your application, in such case FAO will no longer be able to consider your application
• Only applications received through the FAO recruitment portal will be considered
• Your application will be screened based on the information provided in your online profile
• We encourage applicants to submit the application well before the deadline date.

Selection for this position will follow a transparent and very competitive process which may entail different steps, including submission of written test/essay, different stages of interviews (with managers and high-level panel), and a presentation on a given topic relevant to the role.

If you need help, or have queries, please contact\:


This vacancy is now closed.
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